Behind three passing touchdowns from freshman quarterback Drew Saxton, the 22nd-ranked Case Western Reserve University Spartans cruised to their second-straight win, topping Geneva College 27-14 in Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania on Saturday night.
With three games left in the regular season schedule, the Spartans improved to 6-1 overall and are now in a tie for first-place with seventh-ranked Washington & Jefferson in the Presidents' Athletic Conference with a 5-1 PAC ledger. Geneva dropped to 2-5 overall and to 2-4 in the league.
Saxton completed 14-of-28 passes in the game for 232 yards and three touchdowns. Saxton also broke the CWRU record for most passing yards in a season by a freshman (previously held by Nick Leskiewicz with 1,988 in 1994) as he now has 2,177 passing yards this season. Sophomore running back Zach Hall led the rushing attack with 72 yards, while sophomore Colt Morgan caught seven passes for 106 yards, including two touchdown receptions. The Spartans converted eight-of-16 third-down attempts on Saturday, and totaled 385 yards in the game.
The CWRU defense held its opponent to two touchdowns, while limiting the Golden Tornadoes' triple-option offense to just 272 total yards, including 213 on the ground. Junior cornerback Kevin Chrisis and sophomore safety Joshua Smith each intercepted passes, while senior defensive end Cameron Brown registered two sacks.
The Spartans struck for one touchdown in the first quarter of the game, starting their scoring with an eight-play, 55-yard drive, with 25 yards coming on runs by Jenkins. They concluded the drive when Saxton found Morgan with a 25-yard pass, his 15th receiving touchdown of the year, with 11:14 remaining in the quarter.
The CWRU defense opened the second quarter strong with Chrisis intercepting Luke Lloyd's pass and returning it 23 yards to give the Spartans great field position with 13:43 remaining in the half. The turnover set up a 37-yard touchdown pass from Saxton to Morgan to extend the CWRU lead to 14-0 with 13:27 remaining in the second.
The Spartans' defense continued its dominance in the second half, which allowed the offense to go 54 yards downfield in 4:00, and scoring on a one-yard run by freshman running back Donald Day III to extend the lead to 21-0 with 10 seconds remaining in the third. The touchdown was Day III's second of the season.
Geneva would get on the board early in the fourth quarter after Jamarkus Brumskin returned a kickoff 56 yards to give the Golden Tornadoes great field position. Geneva capped off a seven-play, 34 yard drive with a one-yard run by Trewon Marshall, cutting CWRU's advantage to 21-7 with only 11:52 remaining in the fourth. The Spartans' offense responded quickly as Saxton notched his third touchdown pass of the game, as he connected with senior wide receiver Luke DiFrancesco for a 31-yard pass to complete a 11-play, 64-yard drive to put CWRU up 27-7 with 7:08 remaining in the game.
The Golden Tornadoes cut the CWRU advantage to 27-14 when Marshall ran in his second touchdown of the game to complete an eight-play, 69-yard drive at the 4:19 mark of the fourth quarter. However, the Spartan's offense was able to drive downfield and run down the clock to secure the victory.
Morgan's two receiving touchdowns in the game give him 16 for the season, while DiFrancesco pushed his total to five for the campaign. Saxton has thrown for 26 touchdowns in 2018, with just five interceptions.
Case Western Reserve will continue play on the road next weekend, when they travel to Bethany, West Virginia to face the Bethany College Bison on Saturday, October 27th at 2:00 p.m.